Saturday, August 9, 2014

Festival Fun

The Watermelon Festival is my jam.

I don't know if eating a foot-long corn dog while wandering past homemade crafts, children covered in triple-digit-degree sweat, and melons by the truckload sounds like a good time to you, but it's been one of my favorites since 1993. This festival isn't just something I like to do, it's something I have to do. It's a part of me. It embodies the idea of small town community, it provides a sense of belonging, and it makes me feel seven years old.

The cool thing about the 38th annual Watermelon Festival is that I actually got to take a seven-year-old of my own. This is no longer my hometown, nor does it belong to my children, but I love to share this part of my past. I love that so many years have passed, but the festival remains unchanged. Sure there are new activities and trendy crafts, but the overall feel is a constant. This may prove boring to many, but it's comforting to me. I see the old wooden tables where I feasted on dozens of 50-cent watermelon slabs. I see the lawn where I entered the seed spitting competition in 1995. I see the band booster hut where I doled out hamburgers with a smile for many years. I see the same face painting options that have always been there. And you know I plucked that baby of mine from her stroller and put the two dollars down. It may have taken several minutes, a bottle spiked with lemonade, and a handful of snacks, but she did it:

This year's festival was delightful for many reasons. I will limit it to three. Number One: Even though the temperature was 88, feels like 102 {truth}, it was nice compared to most years. The humidity decided to creep back in just in time, but we were not drenched with sweat. Typically that takes about six minutes at the Watermelon Festival. Number Two: We went early. Most vendors hadn't opened when we arrived, and even though we had funnel cake for breakfast, it was worth it to miss the hottest part of the day. Number Three: There was a massive amount of good stuff. I don't know if the crafts are getting better or I'm getting older, but I was impressed with this year's offerings. I only came away with wooden toys for the boys and a burlap hanger for my front door, but my wish list was much longer.

And, just for you, a bonus Number Four: My kids were there. This was the first year that we didn't eat/touch/look at the fruit for which the festival is famous {poor Owen discovered a watermelon allergy the hard way a few months ago}, but that was just fine. We still successfully and safely navigated the festival and we still reveled in a slice of my past:

If you live in my neck of the woods, were you able to get out to this year's Watermelon Festival? If not, today is the last day. Wade through the rain and eat something on a stick for me. For the rest of you, does your hometown host an event that makes you feel like a kid again? Tell me all about it, then have yourself a happy little Saturday.

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Misty said...

I have never been to this one, but it's on my list to go! Thanks for the insight.

Dannielle said...

Glad the kiddos enjoyed the festivities despite the allergies!! Thanks for sharing!!

Karen Weido said...

I was determined to make this festival this year, but didn't. Need to plan my schedule a little better next year so I can be there.

Jessica Bauer said...

Thanks for reading, everybody! It was such a fun morning and absolutely one everyone needs to add to their festival circuit.

Heidi said...

My husband is from Hope, and we love the watermelon festival. But we always seem to be on vacation that weekend! We'll get there again soon. Glad your family had such a good time!